A person who attacked cops with poles throughout the riot on the US Capitol was sentenced on Tuesday to greater than 5 years in jail, matching the longest time period of imprisonment to date amongst a whole lot of Capitol riot prosecutions.
Mark Ponder, a 56-year-old resident of Washington, DC, stated he “acquired caught up” within the chaos that erupted on January 6, 2021, and “didn’t imply for any of this to occur”.
“I wasn’t pondering that day,” Ponder advised US District Decide Tanya Chutkan, asking her for mercy earlier than she sentenced him to 5 years and three months in jail.
That was three months longer than the jail sentence requested by prosecutors. And it’s the identical sentence that Chutkan gave Robert Palmer, a Florida man who additionally pleaded responsible to assaulting police on the Capitol.
Greater than 200 different Capitol riot defendants have been sentenced to date. None obtained an extended jail sentence than Ponder or Palmer.
Chutkan stated Ponder was “main the cost” in opposition to cops making an attempt to carry off the mob that disrupted Congress from certifying President Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
“This isn’t ‘caught up’, Mr Ponder,” she stated. “He was intent on attacking and injuring cops. This was not a protest.”
Chutkan has constantly taken a tough line in punishing Capitol rioters. She has handed down phrases of imprisonment to all 13 riot defendants who’ve come earlier than her, matching or exceeding the Division of Justice’s sentencing suggestion in each case, in keeping with an Related Press assessment of court docket information.
Prosecutors had really useful a five-year jail sentence for Ponder, who has been jailed since his arrest in March 2021.
In April, Ponder pleaded responsible to an assault cost punishable by a most sentence of 20 years in jail. Federal sentencing tips known as for a jail time period starting from practically 5 years to simply below six years, however Chutkan was not sure by these suggestions.
Greater than 100 cops had been injured throughout the riot.
Defence lawyer Joseph Conte stated Ponder was “caught up within the insanity that was January 6”. Conte requested for a sentence under the rules vary.
Ponder swung a pole at a Capitol police officer on the Capitol’s West Plaza, breaking it in opposition to the officer’s defend. After retreating into the gang, Ponder grabbed a sturdier pole colored in purple, white, and blue stripes. He used it to assault two different officers, hitting one in all them within the left shoulder, earlier than police detained and handcuffed him.
Outnumbered officers launched Ponder as a result of they might not get a police car to move him. They advised him to go away the Capitol, however Ponder stayed and joined a mob of rioters clashing with police at a tunnel.
Capitol Police Sergeant Aquilino Gonell, one of many officers assaulted by Ponder, stated the pressure of Ponder’s blow shattered his defend.
“It was horrific,” Gonell stated throughout Ponder’s sentencing listening to. “That specific day will influence me for the remainder of my life.”
After his arrest, Ponder advised FBI brokers that he sometimes helps police however seen the officers as “a part of the issue” that day.
“Sooner or later in time, the best way this nation goes, you gonna have to select a facet,” he stated, in keeping with prosecutors.
Ponder attended the “Cease the Steal” rally on January 6 to listen to then-President Donald Trump’s speech and to “peacefully protest the outcomes of the election and the shortage of consideration to alleged voting irregularities,” Conte wrote in a court docket submitting.
“He did so with no intent to do something however add his voice to the vocal protests over the injustice he perceived had occurred within the election,” the lawyer added. “Sadly, he acquired caught up within the riotous environment of the gang and erroneously perceived the police as standing in the best way of the gang’s need to protest the election outcomes.”
Ponder has a considerable felony file spanning three many years, together with a 2008 conviction for financial institution theft, in keeping with prosecutors.
Greater than 840 folks have been charged with federal crimes for his or her conduct on the Capitol on January 6. Greater than 350 riot defendants have pleaded responsible or been convicted by a jury or a choose after trials.
Greater than 220 of them have been sentenced, together with roughly 100 who obtained a time period of imprisonment. Ponder is the fifteenth to be sentenced to a jail time period exceeding one yr.
The jail sentences for Ponder and Palmer is probably not the lengthiest for for much longer. Prosecutors are looking for a 15-year jail sentence for Man Reffitt, a Texas man who was convicted of storming the Capitol with a holstered handgun. US District Decide Dabney Friedrich is scheduled to condemn Reffitt on Monday.